Energy and Economic Development Forum

ADBC teams with South Carolina organizations to hold the

Energy and Economic Development Forum, Charleston, South Carolina

 On November 19th, Honorary Consul Bradish Waring welcomed the participants to the forum by pointing out that the US is Denmark’s most important trading partner outside the EU. He also emphasized that Danish companies are creating thousands of jobs in the United States. Moreover, there are many similarities between South Carolina and Denmark – population, islands, coastal cities, etc. Mr. Waring continued to laud the transition Denmark has made to a renewable energy and sustainable society.

Elizabeth Colbert-Busch updated the gathering on the strides that South Carolina has made since the one-day seminar was held in 2012. The planned follow-up to that meeting (a large one-day Energy & Economic Development Summit) had to be postponed to 2016 because of the severe flooding that devastated South Carolina this fall.

Then Mette Sos Lassessen of Ramboll addressed the water management issues Denmark has experienced with extreme downpours and consequent flooding. The participants immediately saw the similarities with events in South Carolina and were excited about adapting the Danish solutions to South Carolina conditions. Ramboll’s work with Copenhagen was of great interest – and the work Charleston has done under former Mayor Riley (who served as mayor for forty plus years) is a good start and similar to some of the steps Copenhagen has taken.

Soren Hermansen then explained how Samsoe had taken the Auken challenge and transformed the island from being almost totally reliant on the mainland for energy to being independent and exporting to the mainland. The island produced a master plan, financed the renewable solutions themselves and created jobs at the same time. Today the island is carbon negative and moving toward taking back services that had been outsourced – like the ferry service connecting the island to the island of Zealand and the peninsula of Jutland. The municipality is now buying the ferries – the newest is an LNG ferry that will soon run on methane from a biogas facility on Samsoe. Thus, the island is keeping the proceeds within the community in a kind of “circular economy”. Mr. Hermansen emphasized that using the method of including the community in all decisions created what he calls Commonity = Common+ community.

Søren Hermansen

Søren Hermansen

The Commonity concept can be used to facilitate any kind of project from renewable energy to social and economic problems within the community.

The workshop ended with the participants interested in planning a study tour to Denmark as well as holding the big event next year. As Bradish Waring said, Denmark punches above its weight – and the participants who are leaders in the community saw the benefits of the Danish solutions.

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